Café Scientifique

Olav Krigolson speaking on the stage of a club while audience members listen
UVic's Olav Krigolson (Department of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education) discusses "Why we do the dumb things that we do: the neuroscience of human decision making" at Hermann's Jazz Club, 2015.

The Café Scientifique series is an informal series of talks given in an relaxed setting such as a café. These talks are designed to engage the public in learning about recent research in science. The talks, which are given by experts in the field, provide an opportunity to stimulate discussion around some of the most exciting topics in modern science.

Café Scientifique is sponsored jointly by UVic's Office of the Vice President Research and the Faculty of Science and is hosted by the Centre for Biomedical Research and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Certain health-related topics are co-funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

Due to Covid-19 Cafe Scientifique has moved online!

We will continue to host Cafe Scientifique online until it is safe to host large indoor gatherings again. We will follow the Provincial Health Officer and BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines to determine when this can happen. 

To join us for the talks simply click on the link below and you will join us via Blackboard Collaborate. This a safe, secure system that UVic has been using for its online teaching. You will not need to install any software to make it work - it runs over your web browser. Please read the onlin tips a etiquette below.

Cafe Scientifique normally runs on the 2nd and 3rd Tuesday of each month. We will try our best to stick to that routine and you can join our email list for updates by emailing Kavita Sharma - or Susan Gnucci -

Upcoming talks:

When: 6pm, Tuesday, October 13th
The online room will be open 15 minutes beforehand. The talk will last for approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by a moderated question and answer session. The evening will wrap up at 7pm.
Where: Click this link:
Tip: Use Chrome or Firefox for best results!

Speaker: Karun Thanjavur
Title: Maching Learning with Neural Networks - The Second Industrial Revolution
Description: Dr. Thanjavur is a Senior Laboratory Instructor in the department of Physics and Astronomy and co-teaches a popular graduate course in Advanced Computing and Machine Learning.
When: 6pm, Tuesday, October 20th
The online room will be open 15 minutes beforehand. The talk will last for approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by a moderated question and answer session. The evening will wrap up at 7pm.
Where: Click this link: 
Tip: Use Chrome or Firefox for best results!

Speaker: Rebecca Hof
Title: It Takes a Village: Building a research community to tackle prolems in disease, environment & education

Description:  Rebecca Hof has a BSc (Honors) from the University of Alberta in the area of Molecular Genetics. Rebecca specializes in protein expression and purification, protein biochemistry, assay development, and tissue culture.

All talks will be recorded and posted to the UVic Café Sci YouTube channel:All talks will be recorded and posted to the UVic Café Sci YouTube channel:

Please subscribe and recommend to your friends and colleagues if they are unable to join us on any given evening.

Online tips and etiquette:  

Blackboard Collaborate works best over Chrome and Firefox web browsers. When you click the link you will “enter" the room and your computer will show video and audio from our presenter.  

Your computer may also show video and audio from your room. The controls for this are represented by a series of icons in the middle of your browser screen at the bottom.  

Click the little microphone symbol to mute your audio. A line will appear through it and we will not be able to hear you. We ask all attendees to do this to minimise background noise. 

You can also turn off your video should you wish to do. Simply click on the little video icon at the bottom middle and a line will appear through it.

If all of this sounds a bit daunting - don’t worry - just click the link to join us and the host will give a brief welcome to explain all of this at the start of the evening.


Recent past events

Recorded versions of the Cafe Scientifique Online series are available on UVic's Great Indoors website under the Brain Box catergory. They are also available on YouTube.

Please contact us for more information about past or upcoming events.

  • Dr. Jay Cullen, "Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Astronaut?" (April 14, 2020)
  • Dr. Olav Krigolson, "Destination Mars: Using Neuroscience to Monitor Brain Performance to Help NASAs Next Mission" (April 21, 2020)
  • Dr. Elaine Humphrey, "The Tale of Two Coast Salish Ancient Blankets" (May 12, 2020)
  • Dr Kent Hecker, "Exploring Decision Making in the Health Profession" (May 19, 2020)
  • Dr. David Leitch, “Developing New Medicines for COVID-19: Are We There Yet?” (June 9, 2020)
  • Dr. Katherine Elvira, "Modelling the gut on a chip for drug discovery" (June 16, 2020)
  • Dr. Tobias Junginger,"How particle accelerators have transformed our world and our understanding of it" (September 8, 2020)
  • Dr. Kwang Moo Yi: "Artificial intelligence for machine vision" (September 15, 2020)
  • Dr. Sam Liu, "Are Smart Phones Making Us Unhappy?" (January 21, 2020)
  • Dr. Neil Burford, "A chemist's journey of discovery towards new compounds and materials" (February 11, 2020)
  • Brent Godau, "Next Generation Wound Dressings for Connected Health" (February 18, 2020)
  • Dr. Tom Pederson, "Science, Money, or Politics: Which one should drive sounds policy?" (March 10, 2020)
  • Dr. Lucinda Leonard: “Messages from Above: Using Satellites to Learn About Future Earthquakes” (January 8, 2019)
  • Dr. Raquel Romay-Tallon: “Depression and Social Stigma, by Post Doctoral Fellow” (February 19, 2019)
  • Dr. Jay Cullen: “Fukushima and the Health of the Pacific Ocean: The Science and the Conspiracy Theories,” (March 12, 2019)
  • Juan C. Sanchez-Arias (MD, PhD candidate): “The Developing Brain: A Shapeshifting Powerhouse” (March 19, 2019)
  • Dr. Scott McIndoe: “Four months in the finest workshop in the world: a scientist with a licence to art” (April 9, 2019)
  • Dr. Hector Caruncho: “Schizophrenia and Society” (April 16, 2019)
  • Dr. Jon Willis: "20,000 Pings Under the Sea: An Astronomer’s Voyage on the Nautilus" (Septmber 10, 2019)
  • Dr. Magdalena Bazalova-Carter:"Radiation Therapy of Cancer in a Flash: The Way Forward" (October 8, 2019)
  • Emily Abelseth: "Taking Pride in Diversity in Engineering" (October 15, 2019)
  • Dr. Frank van Veggel: "The Rare Earth: Why we can't live without them" (November 12, 2019)
  • Dr. Olav Krigolson: "Using Mobile Neuroscience Technology to Improve Brain Health and Performance" (November 19, 2019)

  • Dr. Josh Giles: "Engineering Recovery: Using biomechanics to improve orthopeadic outcomes" (November 20, 2018)
  • Dr. Julia Baum: "Corals and Climate Change: glimmers of Hope from an Ecological Crisis" (November 13, 2018)
  • Devika Chithrani: “Role of novel therapeutics in cancer treatment” (October 16, 2018)
  • Elaine Humphrey: “Adventures in Microscopy” (October 9, 2018)
  • Dr. Kim Venn: “Astronomical Archeology: The Early Universe, The First Stars and Big Telescopes" (September 11, 2018)
  • Alan McConnachie, NRC Herzberg: "Canada's Place in the Galaxy" (April 10, 2018)
  • Irina Paci: "Hey Siri, make me a new drug: How computers are changing chemistry and medicine" (April 17, 2018)
  • Olav Krigolson's Lab: "Tools of the Trade: An Interactive Evening with the Latest Technology in Neuroscience" (March 20, 2018)
  • Hector Caruncho: "Depressed about depression. Insights from translational neuroscience" (Jan. 16, 2018)
  • Olav Krigolson: "How we learn: Insights from Neuroscience Research" (Nov. 28, 2017)
  • Alona Fyshe: "Humans read. Computers read?" (Nov. 14, 2017)
  • Stephanie Willerth: "Can we cure spinal cord injury?" Engineering neural tissues from stem cells" (Oct. 24, 2017)
  • Nikolai Dechev: "Victoria Hand Project: Provision of 3D-printed prosthetic hands to amputees in low-to-middle income countries" (March 21, 2017)
  • Mohsen Akbari: "Tissue printing: A paradigm shift in organ regeneration" (Feb. 21, 2017)
  • Robert Smith: "The top ten diseases of all time" (Nov. 15, 2016)
  • Taryn Klarner: "Teaching an old spine new tricks" (Oct. 18, 2016)
  • Sandra Hundza and Marc Klimstra: "The Risky Business of Getting Older: Changes in Walking and Fall Risk" (April 19, 2016)
  • E. Paul Zehr and guests: "An Evening with Batman's Brain" (March 16, 2016)
  • Patrick Walter: "Iron Overload: Why too much of a good thing can be bad" (Feb. 9, 2016)